Mr Extortionate Taxi Driver took us the rest of the way to the hotel.
We drove over a couple of non-roads to get there and eventually pulled off a main road, up another bumpy track and pulled up outside.
It was quite an expensive hotel and it looked like a series of concrete warehouses from the outside.
A large, light and airy reception area with friendly people on the desk.
The first thing you notice after that is the floor. It isn’t solid – no carpet, wood or concrete – it’s crushed salt so you feel like you are walking on a gravel path.
We had a bit of a wait for our room to be ready but by 3pm we were in. And it was very nice. Twin beds but at least we would get a good night’s sleep!
And the beds were really comfy. And the bedding was really nice too. Oooo luxury for once.
Our room was the same as the rest of the hotel – crushed salt floor but with big rugs on it, and salt walls. They cut the blocks from the salt flats – they dig down so there are coloured layers in the salt bricks – each layer being a new wet season and you end up with different colours running through.
We had to taste the walls of course but we felt a bit like Charlie & his grandad in Willy Wonkas factory – licking the walls. Guess what? They were very salty!
We went off to explore a bit and found a games room. There were two pool tables but one had no pockets so we assume you play some slightly different rules on that one. And so we had a game on the other. Neither of us are very good but we are not completely impossible at it. However our game seemed to last a lot longer than normal and we were missing some really easy shots. We may as well have played on the one with no pockets!
We found the Spa too and were keen to try it the jacuzzi – oh yes hot water to sit in at last! However the water was only lukewarm. The girl told us that it gets warmer when you are in it. Really? We had never heard of that spa technology before and we weren’t buying it! The sauna was out of order too. This wasn’t looking too promising especially as we had come here purposefully for the spa.
In the rest of the hotel they had set it out beautifully. Lots of separate little lounges to sit in and many with their own fire too. It was lovely walking down the corridor at night when all the fires were lit. They had many other fires throughout the hotel and we wondered how do you apply for a job like that?
The view from our room was beautiful – straight out over the world’s largest Salt Flats – and we got the sunset too. As soon as the sun disappeared though, the big chill set in and you needed those log fires everywhere.
The food was nice here. And expensive. They charged £15 each for the evening buffet menu which was almost 10 times what we have been paying for a 3 course lunch. But here it was the only option so we filled our plates and made the most of it. Breakfast was included with our room rate so again we filled our plates in the morning and tried to make it last out until evening. We were not very successful at that! So by lunchtime we were down again for a bowl of soup.
On our second day we had booked some Spa treatments. Bryan a Swedish massage & Jody a salt stone massage. We went a bit earlier than our appointment as we really wanted to have a nice soak in the jacuzzi first and relax our achy muscles. Jody was still suffering from achy legs from going down in the mine.
Our plan was scuppered though. They had only just turned the jacuzzi on (apparently they turn it off every night – crazy!) By 4pm it was still freezing cold. Jody cancelled her massage and went back to the room. Bryan’s massage was terrible and he felt like she was unqualified to give massage. When you have enough massages as he does, then you can just tell if someone has trained properly or not.
So we made out feelings known to the manager and he offered us a free bottle of wine with our evening meal, We accepted but begrudgingly actually as we really would have prefered they sort the Spa out. The wine with dinner was welcome but it was the same cheap £2.50 bottle we had been drinking everywhere in Bolivia. They certainly didn’t give much away.
The only other thing we were disappointed about here was the wifi. We had hoped for better but considering where we were situated we were grateful we had any at all. It took Jody 3 1/2 hours to order a birthday card from Moonpig for her friend – That’s how slow it was!
But all in all, we had a lovely relaxing stay here – if the Spa had been better it would have been much more so but that was not to be.
On the Friday the car from Red Planet came to pick us up at 12:00 and we were off – complete with an impromptu packed lunch from breakfast.
This was the trip we had so been looking forward to and we couldn’t wait!